Saturday, June 14, 2008

Prune NYC

Roasted bone marrow is one of those things that I had seen a couple of times on TV shows - Tony Bourdain's show, to be specific - that I really wanted to try. The first time it made an appearance was on his London show when he went to Fergus Henderson's restaurant, St. John. A few weeks later, the same dish of roasted bone marrow with parsley salad made an appearance on the New York episode when he went to Prune. There was no way I was going to find myself in London anytime soon, but Prune happens to be just down the street from Abby's place, so we decided to give it a shot. The place is tiny, and it may not be the easiest seat to get on a Saturday night, but a rain storm the left us dripping wet must have chased away a few customers. We were able to walk in and a table was sitting there waiting for us.

This meal was worlds away from the highly refined seafood we had the night before. It wasn't uniformly spectacular, but it was good, comfort food that tasted like it could have come out of someone's home kitchen....if that someone was a really good, creative cook with hookups for good ingredients. The first thing we got when we set down was a little bowl of fried chickpeas with another bowl of salt for dipping. I've made fried chickpeas as an element for a dish a couple of times here and here. I must say, its a great little bar snack, and one of the many little quirks that makes this place worth going to.

For the appetizer we ordered the roasted bone marrow dish. The serve it with grilled pieces of bread, sea salt, and a salad of parsley, shallots, capers, and cornichons. The bitterness and brininess of the salad cuts through the rich marrow. It's a great combination. This seems pretty easy to make, so I'll have go give it a try at a dinner party sometime.
We ordered grilled lamb shoulder chop with braised dandelion greens and skordalia; braised rabbit leg with vinegar sauce; wax beans with grated beets, citrus, and honeycomb; and braised leeks and celery hearts with collard greens and a dijon mustard sauce. Abby and I both thought the beets with honeycomb were really interesting. I think we both thought the main courses were good, but not quite as good as the sides that we ordered.

We were still a little hungry after the main courses, so we ordered these enormous "shrimp" that everyone in the restaurant seemed to be getting. The menu said that they were grilled head on shrimp with anchovy butter, but they must be langoustines, which are somewhere between a shrimp and a lobster. This was awesome. (So awesome that every time I look at this photo I instinctively start drooling. I have yet to try a tastier shrimp! -abby)
This dish and the bone marrow are reason enough to come to this restaurant. When you're all done, they give you cherries, instead of chocolates or mints. I thought this was another nice quirky little touch.
I enjoyed my meal here and would recommend it to anyone who isn't a vegetarian. The place is small, but if the weather is crappy or you walk in right at opening, you might be able to get a table for two without reservations. Its probably better to play it safe, though, and call ahead. Given that the side dishes and appetizers were great and the main courses were just ok, I think I'll treat this like a tapas bar next time I come here and just order small plates.

No comments: